Out score Woodstock 19-3 to win the six point AA series in three games
March 22, 2023
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - The St. Thomas Jr. Stars are going for an Alliance League AA title.
Sam Taylor scored a hat trick, while AJ Power had two goals and one assist, as St. Thomas finished off the Woodstock Jr. Navy Vets with 9-1 rout, Tuesday at the Joe.
The Jr. Stars made quick work of the Jr. Navy Vets, winning the six point AA Constellation semifinal in three games, while outscoring their opponent, 19-3.
"I feel we play our system and play together and score goals off each other and don't think of our selves. We think team," St. Thomas captain Matt Masschaele said. "We knew what we could do and how far we could go in the playoffs. We were determined to put these guys aside and take it to them every game and not leave anything out there."
St. Thomas opened the Alliance playoffs, sweeping aside the Brantford 99ers, in three games as well.
"Puck movement, 100 percent," St. Thomas head coach Matt Bowes said. "The boys all come together. When we move the puck and don't try to be individual. When we play as a team our talent shows up. So when we're able to marry talent with team work, it always comes through for us."
The Jr. Stars broke open a close 2-1 game late in the first period.
"We got a lot of pucks at the net," Bowes added. "Their goalies actually played really well despite the score."
St. Thomas tacked on some late third period power play goals thanks to unnecessary penalties taken by Woodstock.
Matt Zylstra and Cooper Ilczyrzyn, also both with two assists, Ethan Silcox and Alex Medeiros, completed the Jr. Stars goal scoring. Carson Smith and Rhys Smart had three assists each.
In the final, St. Thomas takes on London Jr. Knights White in a six point series starting March 28 at Memorial arena.
"The boys are happy right now which is where we want them to be. They're confident," Bowes said. "Going into finals we want them to have a little bit of swagger."
London White does offer a challenge and beat St. Thomas twice this season.
"They're a very good team. It's going to be tough," Masschaele said. "I feel it's going to be a long series. We just have to continue playing our system and not ever get down on ourselves."
Bowes stresses his team must continue how they have been playing.
"We need to keep this energy that we have right now. We need to keep that going," said Bowes. "We need to keep the puck moving. When everyone is positive showing up at the rink, that makes a world of difference. We've got phenomenal leadership inside our room.
St. Thomas is 51-8-6 overall this season. The Jr. Stars finished first in the AA Constellation, while London was third.
"Puck movement is everything for us," added Bowes. "Once we get individual, we're easier to contain. When we move the puck there is no one that can play with us."
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